Greetings from Second Semester Senior Land! It’s currently a balmy seventy two degrees outside, the sun is shining, and there’s a friendly breeze just large enough to tousle one’s hair and ruffle one’s skirt. I feel sorry for those poor California kids huddled under three blankets and sipping orange-blossom tea at the sight of the mercury below sixty. Wimps.
It’s not that I’m hibernating for the rest of the school year; I actually find some things at school quite interesting (Thanks Mr. J! That human geo textbook though…grrr). It’s just nice to finally take a few breaths, find time to make good use of my Spotify subscription, and have the energy to ponder the links on my brother’s Facebook posts as thoroughly as I’d like. I look forward to my six month stay here before returning to real life.
Meanwhile I’ve made some “Swedish” meatballs*. Ikea ain’t got nothin’ on these. I spooned them over a big bowl of egg noodles for dinner the other night. Instead of lingonberry jam though, I made a blueberry sauce because that’s what I had at home and it was just as delicious. Ahem, I mean blueberry compote. Because I’m a second semester senior and I can call my food whatever fancy name I want.
*I use quotes because these are about as Swedish as “canadian” sour cream is Canadian. I didn’t want to alarm anyone with quotes in the title because these really are very good and I’m surely not alone in saying that quotes in a recipe title just make me suspicious.
Swedish Meatballs with Blueberry Compote
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 slices bread
2 large eggs
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups beef stock
1/3 cup sour cream or milk
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
- Make the blueberry compote. Combine blueberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced to a slightly more liquid consistency than you wish the final sauce to be. It took me ten minutes. Use your best judgement here. Set aside to cool.
- Tear the bread up into small pieces in a large bowl. Add the milk and let it soak until the bread is thoroughly mushy. Set it aside while you prepare the next step.
- Heat a saute pan over medium high heat for one minute. Add the butter to the hot pan and when it has melted, add the onions. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent, which should only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and let them cool for five minutes before scraping them into the milk-bread mixture.
- Add the rest of the meatball ingredients to the large bowl. Mix everything together until it’s well combined, either with your clean hands or with a rice paddle (my preference). Make sure not to over mix.
- Form 40-50 meatballs, about an inch in diameter. You can use your hands, as I did, or, in retrospect, it seems a cookie scoop would do the job handsomely as well. Place them on a large cookie sheet.
- Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in the pan you just used for onions. When the butter is foamy, add some meatballs and brown on all sides, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. I worked in 4 batches. Set the browned meatballs aside.
- Keep the butter in the pan and add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook the roux until it is golden brown and smells like extra-toasted pie crusts. Pour in the stock, stirring constantly. The sauce may look thin at first but it will thicken eventually. Just have faith, friend.
- Slide half the meatballs back into the pan, lower the heat, and cook, covered, for ten minutes. Repeat with the other half.
- Serve over buttered egg noodles with the gravy and blueberry compote. Or, as I wish I had thought of earlier, serve it over a crispy belgian waffle. Mmmm.